I like to tell myself I am too metropolitan in spirit to enjoy frequenting the same places and meeting the same familiar faces. But part of the appeal of living in Winnipeg is that you can rely on this city to always feel the same and change only for the stranger.
Just a stone’s throw away from St. Vital Centre, Double D’s Cheesecake & Coffee House is a south Winnipeg staple.
The café’s coffee menu is reliable, with just enough variety that it does not get overwhelming. Holiday standbys make their mandatory seasonal appearances, and everything is generally good quality.
However, the cheesecake at Double D’s is what gives the place its reputation.
Offering both party-sized cheesecakes and mini, puck-like cheesecakes, Double D’s has one of the most idiosyncratic recipes I have encountered. Its cheesecake is no-bake, a process which mystically manifests airy — borderline foamy — sweetness.
I have a fiendish craving for chocolate most days, but rich and thick chocolate cheesecakes almost always hurtle me into nap-mode. Double D’s Rolo minis, as well as its mint-chocolate chip minis, are my light and breezy go-tos. They satisfy cravings without the sleep-inducing side-effects of heavier cheesecakes.
I am told by my dairy-despising friends that there is not the overpowering cheesy aftertaste to the minis that heavier cheesecake recipes have, either. The flavours are subtle, and there is a wide range to sample.
There are some eternal disadvantages to the Double D’s no-bake recipe, however. In particular, if you bring any of its cheesecake home with you, you absolutely must keep it in the freezer. Unfortunately, if you do, the stuff becomes so hard that it is inedible.
There also isn’t anything to bind the base together in place of heat fusion, which means that if you take a risk and stab your frozen cheesecake during a dessert frenzy you will fire crumbly sugar shrapnel in all directions.
This is why Double D’s cheesecake works best for me in the café itself, as it is served in that optimal frothy-solid pre-liquid window. A fine compromise, since the café is cozy and welcoming.
After recently undergoing a change in ownership, the café has seen a few quirky changes. Cheesecakes are served on cutesy miniature cutting boards with little forks. The most notable of any aesthetic changes is the café’s newest tenant Cheeko, a giant stuffed bear who now occupies one of the corner barstools.
I have been stopping in at Double D’s regularly for the past year to write and fuel up on lattes and minis because — aside from walk-in customers — I can always count on the place to be a warm and familiar spot. The owners are friendly and never complain when they see me, no matter how erratic and wind-swept a state grad school has left me in.
We will cycle through another round of holiday-themed syrups and tired Frank Sinatra covers, and all the while Cheeko sits, watchful over Double D’s, the familiar but strange fuzzy sentinel in a Winnipeg staple.
Double D’s Cheesecake & Coffee House is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.